Amy Judging: Folan leads compliance office
When Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds talks about athletics compliance at the University of Texas, he isn't shy about praising the work of its leader -- Amy Folan.
"We found Amy at the NCAA office," Dodds says of his Associate Athletics Director for Compliance. "And what she and her staff have done with us has been great. We are going to have the best compliance office in the nation.
"It won't be too long before everyone will be coming to Texas to see how compliance is done."
Folan, a graduate of the University of Connecticut, with a master's from the University of Georgia, served as a graduate assistant in Georgia's compliance office and was an assistant director of compliance at UGA before moving to the NCAA.
She came at this position from the perspective of a former student-athlete, having been a member of the UConn soccer team that made four straight NCAA tourney appearances and reached the elite eight twice. Folan, also, was an Academic All-Big East honoree.
She understands the primary function of her office is to exercise "institutional control" of Texas' athletics programs.
Folan knows that begins with educating the players, the coaches, the administration and the fans on what they can and cannot do. Certainly, it's no easy task for Folan and her staff of five (plus a graduate assistant).
That's why TexasSports.com offers ample information on its pages, focusing a message for all involved, including prospective student-athletes, as well as those already on campus.
There is a section dedicated to the donors, which features a letter co-signed by Dodds and Women's Athletics Director Chris Plonsky. The letter notes that the NCAA definition of "a representative of the University's athletics interests" is broad and takes in most, and arguably, all who attend Longhorns' games.
There also are pamphlets available that summarize all applicable NCAA rules.
Then, there is Folan, Lori Smith, Karen Jenke, Allison Taylor, Mindy Thompson, Rhonda Place and Aketa Emptage, all at the ready to answer phone calls, letters, e-mails and faxes.
"You do whatever you can to help people understand," Folan said. "Different schools have different philosophies. At Texas, I have DeLoss and Chris right in front of me. They believe in compliance and they get across to all how Texas is going to do it.
"We have a coaching staff that is most supportive of what we do. That helps."
Dodds interjects that it is Folan and her staff who have earned the support of the coaches because of their work.
"Amy's group has great credibility with our coaches," Dodds said. "They have that with all of us."
Folan does a great deal of speaking, meeting with all of the Longhorn Clubs in Texas' largest cities.
"It is a challenge to get our arms around this," she said of the world of compliance. "In addition to the speaking, we also insert messages to all of our season ticket holders. We try to make our message positive, reminding all about the rules."
Folan said she wasn't looking to leave the NCAA when Dodds called.
"To have the opportunity to be with the best of the best, which is what Texas is, made my decision a little easier," Folan said. "To be able to put in a premiere compliance program at a place like Texas was a wonderful opportunity."
For Folan, the 2006-07 school year, which she reported is her fifth year at UT, began with the arrival of student-athletes for summer school on June 1. She spoke with them and their parents.
"That was my agenda for that day," she explained. "And another nice aspect of this job is that there is a different agenda for every day. Not one day is the same as the next and each day can change quickly."
Folan said she can tell when what she and her staff are doing is working. There is a focus on compliance from all sectors.
"You know that from the phone calls," she said. "People are reading and listening. They are paying attention. They are asking before acting."
And that is exactly what Folan wants.